TWO members of the interim Bangsamoro Parliament have filed three bills seeking to create three separate ministries that will focus on agrarian reform, fisheries and aquatic resources, and agriculture.
Members of the Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil and lawyer Suharto Ambolodto, both members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), filed the three proposed laws on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
Parliament Bill No. 11 or an act creating the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, defining its powers and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and other purposes.
Parliament Bill No. 12 or an act creating the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, defining its powers and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and other purposes.
Parliament Bill No. 15 or an act reorganizing the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform, renaming it to the Ministry of Agriculture, adjusting its units, appropriating funds therefor, and other purposes.
“It is clear that agriculture should be a priority agenda of the autonomous region, as it is one of the main sources of livelihood in the Bangsamoro region,” Mawallil said Tuesday, September 20.
“Hence, these bills seek to reorganize the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) by establishing the Ministry of Agriculture to focus on the distinct needs of the agricultural sector in the Bangsamoro Region. Under this proposed measure, the Ministry of Agriculture shall be the agency responsible for the promotion of agricultural development by providing the policy framework, public investments, and support services needed for domestic and export-oriented business enterprises.” Mawallil explained.
Ambolodto emphasized the need to create a separate ministry for fisheries.
“Focus on the fisheries and aquatic resources sector, including the development of the fisheries infrastructure in BARMM—such as processing facilities, cold storage, and new markets—can optimize existing production limitations,” Ambolodto said.
“This will likewise strengthen the institutional capacities of MFAR (Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) as the primary policy and regulatory body on fisheries and aquatic resources,” he added
Both Mawallil and Ambolodto also believe that a separate ministry for agrarian reform in BARMM will serve a larger and more in-depth role.
They said that it shall be the principal agency to assist the Bangsamoro Government in the implementation of the agrarian reform law, and land reform programs and projects.
“It shall also implement national programs and projects intended for the Bangsamoro Region, as consistent with the regional laws, customs, and traditions of the Bangsamoro people," Mawallil and Ambolodto said.
These three bills are also supported by five co-authors who are incumbent members of the Parliament, namely, Laisa Alamia, Rasol Mitmug, Jr., Don Mustapha Loong, Baintan Ampatuan, and Rasul Ismael. (SunStar Zamboanga)